According to a recent statement by the Space Foundation, the global space economy reached a record $ 423.8 billion. It has expanded more than 70% in the last decade. Nowadays there are more than 80 countries with space program. Although governments of many countries are constantly increasing funding’s, seems like that state owned space agencies are acquiring most of these funds.

We often hear the quote “The first trillionair will exploit space”. Right now this seems like distant future because even if global space economy continues to grow at same rate, it will need two decades to reach this level, and the private sector is likely to need a lot of extra time.

What is the current share of the private sector in the global space economy?

Considering that leading private space entrepreneurs are throwing billions of dollars in spacecraft developments, what is current return of the investment in private space sector?

  • $\begingroup$ Nice to see the contrast with this. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ "the global world economy reached a record $ 423.8 billion" what does that statement mean? $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2020 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


This is certainly an interesting question but not one with an easy answer. I suggest being rather wary about headline figures such as this. Often it includes all kinds of revenue associated with exploiting space assets such as advertising revenue on direct-to-home TV and subscriptions to GPS enable traffic applications.

You have to decide for yourself whether:

  1. these additional sources of revenue match your reason for being interested in the figure
  2. there is enough detail in the underlying report to determine what data was actually gathered and whether that policy appears uniformly applied to all countries


You might want to be clear about how you define Market share as the industry as a whole comprises not just different ventures (launch, satellite applications) but often layers and layers of subcontractors, each operating their own industry sector market. For the same reason a comprehensive Return on Investment would have to account for all of these layers of business.

I also wonder, just as a layperson, that in "423.8 billion", the four significant figures might give the wrong indication over how precise is that result.

EDIT Here's a starting point. Note large part of the pie chart is associatedground equipment for user applications (TV, SatNav). Bryce report 2019 enter image description here

The diagram leaves some key points out. Where the OP asks about "the current share of the private sector" it probably relates to the complement (i.e. everything but) that section labelled "non-satellite industry". Why Bryce chose to name the institutionally funded programmes with that term isn't clear but then its only my guess thats what it means from the lower tier segments there such as "NASA", "USAF" etc.


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